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China is interested in developing a target detection system for stealth aircraft. Its Navy is under pressure to speedily develop carrier battle groups as it seeks to counter US and Japanese naval strength in its quest to control the waters of the South China Sea and protect its man-made islands there.

The Shenyang Aircraft Design Institute has issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) to acquire an “integral unit for photoelectric target acquisition that is stealth capable,” setting off speculation that the institute was developing a carrier-based version of China’s FC-31 stealth fighter jet. The FC-31 (J-31) is a twin-engine, mid-size fifth-generation jet fighter.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is looking to procure stealth parts for China’s aircraft carrier-based fighter jet manufacturer, Shenyang. The integral unit must be able to operate against naval targets and be capable of monitoring humidity.

Multiple changes and upgrades are being made to the FC-31 allowing it to be used on an aircraft carrier, the state-owned Global Times reported. China’s third aircraft carrier confirmed to be under construction is widely expected to be equipped with an electromagnetic catapult, and will use the stealth fighter jet, Wang Yunfei, a naval expert had predicted, according to defenseworld.net.